Ninth Crystal Pineapple Awards:  SHTA posthumously honors Erika Cannegieter-Smith   

POSTED: 11/24/14 8:02 PM

St. Maarten – The Crystal Pineapple Awards ceremony tends to get a bit rowdy towards the end of the evening – the result of a sumptuous dinner, a couple of glasses of wine and good company. On Friday evening the buzz stopped abruptly when Ricardo Perez and Lorraine Talmi announced the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association’s Person of the Year: Erika Cannegieter-Smith, the founder of the Be the Change Foundation  and former sales manager and event planner at the Radisson Hotel on the French side who succumbed on August 22 to cancer at the age of 36. Her mother Barbara was present to accept the award.

By honoring Erika Cannegieter the SHTA put a fitting crown on its festive ninth Crystal Pineapple Awards event at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. It was also fitting that Nicole de Weever won the award for her Art Saves Lives Foundation in the category Outstanding Community Service Achievement. De Weever was a close friend of Erika Cannegieter and she dedicated her Crystal Pineapple to her.

Barbara Cannegieter told the silent crowd that her daughter’s Be the Change Foundation had raised approximately $22,000 since its inception. The money went to various community initiatives. Be the Change will live on – and with it, the memory of its founder, president and CEO Erika: Barbara Cannegieter’s granddaughter Melanie will take over where Erika was forced to let go.

Other winners in the non-voting category of Outstanding Community Service Awards were the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (educational achievement) Nature Foundation’s ranger Etienne Lake (environmental achievement), Cyndi Miller (tourism ambassador) and AVS 2000’s Ricardo Williams (public media award).

The other winners are: Trade: Employee of the Year: Angie Prince (Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School), Supervisor of the Year: Rafael Martinez (St. Maarten Sightseeing Tours), Manager of the Year: Myrtille Charlotte Brookson (Ennia Insurances).

Restaurants and Bars: employee of the Year: Valda Revan-Dawes (Mark’s Place), Supervisor/Manager of the Year: Cleopatra Blair (Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino), Restaurateur of the Year: Pierre Ferland (Pineapple Pete), Chef of the Year: Raymond Kaper (Holland House), Bartender of the Year: Paul Peterson (Temptation).

Accommodations: Employee of the Year: Marcia Gordon (Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino), Supervisor of the Year: Adil Benjamin (Oyster Bay Beach Resort), Department Manager of the Year: Barbara Warren (Westin Dawn Beach Resort & pa), General Manager of the Year: Carlos Zambrini (Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino).

Timeshare Salesperson of the Year: Murvin Priest (Royal Islander Club).

Rookie of the Year: Priya Forde (Oyster Bay Beach Resort).

Forde spoke from her heart, when she told the audience with a big smile: “Tomorrow is my birthday. This is the best present ever.”

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Ninth Crystal Pineapple Awards:  SHTA posthumously honors Erika Cannegieter-Smith    by

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